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Monday, 29 August 2011

Supernatural Sunday - A brief look at Djinn

Westerners know these ancient beings as "genies", from the tales Scheherazade.spun to save her life in "The thousand and one nights. "        


According to ancient lore, the race of Djinn was created from fire in its purest form, and were roaming the earth thousands of years before the first humans.  One tradition holds that djinn live in an alternate reality to the human world, although they can interact with ours at will.


The Qu'ran  has a chapter regarding djinn and their dangers to humanity; the prophet Muhammad was reputed to convert a number of the race to Islam by reciting part of the Qu'ran to them. There are legends of the biblical King Solomon binding djinn and using them as slaves for building as well as transportation, and the Queen of Sheba - reputedly Solomon's lover - was considered part-djinn in some tales.


Although  Disney is responsible for a number of kids eagerly rubbing brass lamps in the hope of finding a pet genie of their own, a look at traditional lore would suggest this is a very bad idea. Djinn are very powerful, long-lived (although not immortal), and frequently bad-tempered. They have no compunction about harming humans; and some seem to take a positive delight in doing so. (Personally, if somebody bound me to a physical object, and then treated me as their personal slave, I'd be pretty grumpy about it myself. It's a bit hard not to sympathize with a being feeling homicidal after that kind of treatment).


Djinn are multi-talented - they can take on any form they choose, be any size they wish, and appear to be able to manipulate space and time.


There appear to different races of Djinn, with varying degrees of power and ability. In ascending order of power : Jann, Sheytan, Afrit and Marid. 
Legend has it that the races were forced to choose between supporting or warring against humans. Some races choose to side with humanity, some against it, although just like human culture there are renegades in both groups. 


Those who believe in djinn treat them very cautiously. Traditional healers in the eastern world have been known call on djinn for aid, but do so only in extreme circumstances; even the djinn that support humans are quick to take offence and deal harm.


Interestingly, encounters with djinn have been reported world-wide by both westerners and non-westerners. In this instance, it appears that trying to geographically limit or pin-point this being is pointless, although they are said to prefer remote and inhospitable areas of the world.


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J H Sked is the author of WolfSong & Basement Blues.
You can find WolfSong on Amazon, Sony  e-bookstore, Nook and Smashwords. Basement Blues is on Amazon and Smashwords.